Arizona Highway 83 reopens through the Sawmill Fire area

April 27, 2017 - 11:03 pm

Today, a Type 1 Incident Management Team (IMT) assumed command of the Sawmill Fire and will continue with full-suppression strategy efforts. The IMT is working for the State of Arizona, Bureau of Land Management, and Coronado National Forest to manage the Sawmill Fire.

Fire Information 

Estimated Acres: 46,954 (based on visual estimate)

Start Date: April 23, 2017

Cause: Human caused, under investigation

Origin Location: 10 miles southeast of Green Valley, Arizona

Containment: 40%

Fuels: Tall grass, riparian woodland, mesquite/oak brush, oak woodland, and pinyon-juniper

Total personnel: Approximately 799

This afternoon, the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) reopened Arizona Highway 83 south of Interstate 10. Drivers are encouraged to observe reduced speed limits and anticipate delays as ADOT crews repair guardrails damaged by the fire.

Firefighters worked to secure the fire perimeter that was tested by high winds today. Crews patrolled and monitored the area west of Arizona Highway 83.

The fire is most active on the northeastern flank. Aerial operations including fire retardant drops were used to slow the fire’s progression. Perimeter growth was minimal due to effective suppression efforts. Visit https://maps.nwcg.gov/sa/ to view an interactive map of the Sawmill Fire.

High winds are the primary concern for tomorrow’s firefighting operations. A Red Flag Warning will be in place from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. with expected sustained wind gusts of 45 miles per hour. Tomorrow, firefighters will construct direct line, working as close to the fire’s edge as can be done safely and effectively, while continuing to protect communities.

The Pima County Office of Emergency Management has lifted the pre-evacuation order for residents on the west side of Arizona Highway 83. Residents in the Hilton Ranch area remain under pre-evacuation notice. An evacuation order remains in place for Rain Valley. Evacuation centers are located at the Sonoita Bible Church (3174 Arizona Highway 83, Sonoita, Arizona) and the Southeastern Regional Park Shooting Range (11296 S. Harrison Road, Tucson, Arizona).

A community meeting is planned for 7:00 p.m., Friday April 28, in the Benson School’s Multipurpose Room at 360 S. Patagonia Street, Benson, Arizona. Briefings will be held for the news media tomorrow at the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds at 7:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.

For public information on the Sawmill Fire, please contact Sawmill Fire Information at (520) 455-9340. Media inquiries can be made by calling (505) 750-4636. Official incident information as well as links to county evacuation alerts and Arizona highway information are included at the Sawmill Fire InciWeb page (http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5164/), the Sawmill Fire Information Facebook page (www.facebook.com/SawmillFire2017), and twitter (https://twitter.com/SawmillFire2017).

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